1. International Institute for Learning, Inc.
If You Think You Can Do Without a Business Analyst
By Maureen McVey and George Bridges
In this article, we will introduce you to how Business Analysis can contribute to strategic,
project and organizational success. In other words how does Business Analysis add value to the
organization? In addressing and answering this question we will cover the following topics:
Growth in the interest in the Business Analyst, The International Institute for Business
Analysis (IIBA), the role of the business analyst, The required skills of a business analyst, how
the business analyst works with the project manager and the business community. Consider the
Quote: “An order shaper is one who knows and has assimilated the customers' pain. They need to
participate in all the strategic planning and meetings, but the challenge is earning a seat at the table.
While being a super order taker can achieve this over time, you can't simply be a smiling face because
you'll get in the position of overpromising. Because the Business Requirements Manager knows how the
company makes money, they can write business cases that demonstrate the impact of a project's ability to
help the company make money. Dave Ficken, VP, Corporate Information systems, McDonald's
We are convinced that the Business Analyst when properly placed and utilized in the
organization can be an asset to assist their respective stakeholders in making a profit and
adding value to their enterprise.
Why in the world does any organization need a new department, a new skill set and a new
profession to add value to the organization? Why can’t they just rely on the existing marketing,
engineering, finance and accounting people to solve their business problems? After all, they
hire the best people, from the best schools in the world. They know all about our business and
how to make our businesses successful. In addition they created a PMO and hired some very
intelligent project managers. They may ask: “Why do we need another professional”? Is
Business Analysis just another fad or is it another name for a “System Analyst” ? So what is
a Business Analyst and how does he or she add value to their company?
2. International Institute for Learning, Inc.
At IIL, we believe that the field of BA is a 60%
growing that will continue to expand because of 50%
the problems and challenges in delivering IT 40%
related projects. Based on our findings from a 30%
CAOS report, most projects are challenged
(50%) and an additional 25% of all
projects are considered to have failed1.
1998 2000 2002 2004 2006
That means that organizations will Succeeded 26% 28% 34% 29% 35%
obtain a 25% success rate for the Failed 28% 23% 15% 18% 19%
projects they initiate. Can your Challenged 46% 49% 51% 53% 46%
company survive with a 25% project
success rate? Can BA add to the bottom line of an organization and add value? Yes; and we
demonstrate this in the information presented in this article.
What is the IIBA
The IIBA established, March 2, 2004, in Toronto, Canada , was formed as a non-profit
professional association to provide a body of knowledge for BA and to promote the profession.
As can be seen by the following chart, the organization has experienced some tremendous
growth. All the data points to a exponential growth of the organization and the field of BA.
The IIBA is adding significantly to the field of Business Analysis by developing, maintaining
and distributing the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK®). The BABOK®,
provides a conceptual framework of best practices for business analysis. As we address this
topic, we’ll see how this Body of Knowledge impacts all aspect of business analysis.
The Role of the BA
The BA’s main role in an organization and on a team is to manage the solution scope of the
project deliverable. This solution scope is only a subset of the overall project scope. With that
said, the business analyst takes the lead in handling all aspect of the solution scope. The BA
will also act as a facilitator, communicator and problem solver in managing the solution scope.
Finally, they will elicit requirements, analyze requirements, and plan all the business analysis
activities by creating a Business Analysis Plan while participating in the monitoring and
controlling of the solution scope for the project.
The required skills of a BA
A BA is accountable for defining & ensuring the right solution is delivered by using their skills
as a vehicle for people, technology and process success. There are a number of skills that will
contribute to the success of the business analyst. The greatest skill for the business analyst is
the communication skills which include oral, written and listening skills. Another skill that is
3. International Institute for Learning, Inc.
very important for the business analyst is that of facilitation of stakeholders in all phases of the
product development life cycle.
At IIL we have identified nine skill sets we think are important for a business analyst. These
• Verbal and Written Communication
• Analytical and Systems thinking
• Technology and Business Knowledge
• Modeling (process, data, system)
• Relationship Management
• Evaluation and Decision Analysis
• Planning and Management
• Elicitation and Facilitation
Of the skills listed above the most technical area for a BA is that of business process modeling
(BPM). A BA does not have has to master all the skills above; however, they should master a
few of them and have a good working knowledge of all the skills listed.
The BA can assist the PM manage project scope by applying the above skills in managing the
solution scope from the requirements phase to the implementation phase of the project.
How the BA works with Project Manager
The BA work and the PM work are unique, but in some instances they can overlap. PM’s who
are not aware of the BA profession will go at it alone and do the work required to manage the
solution scope. Most PM’s are not aware that someone like a BA , can take the leadership in
handling the information need to generate requirements. It’s not jus the PM’s, we see many
professionals in organizations around the globe doing business analysis, without formally
being recognized as business analyst.
Business Analysis adds value by providing planning inputs to the PM, especially time
estimates required to: gather information, analyze information, review information document
information, and coordinate with team and client stakeholders. The business analyst provides
the skill sets (of resources) needed to complete those tasks – including client resources!
If a PM schedules regular reviews and inspections of requirements documents with the project
team, time and money is saved! The BA becomes the catalyst and the primary driver
behind the requirement reviews, thus saving the PM time and headaches.
The BA and the Business Community
There are four main reasons why the interest in Business Analysis has grown: Unsatisfactory
Project Results, Outsourcing, Regulatory Demands (USA: SOX) and Process Optimization.
The BA needs the business community and the business community needs the BA. Through
solution requirements traceability the BA manages the client expectation of the resulting
4. International Institute for Learning, Inc.
solution. The BA as an added resource to the project team helps validate requirements during
acceptance testing and ultimately meet client outcomes and expectations.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
According to a study conducted by the Corporate Executive Board, Application Executive
Council, "Improving business analyst proficiency can improve application performance by as
much as 30%." According to the same study a Business Analyst who is proficient in
understanding business process complexity, their economic and revenue drives, recognizing
the implications of changes in business strategy and accurately measuring the contribution of
IT projects to business value contribute to 'extremely high [application] proficiency."
Including providing the deliverable of cost benefits, a skilled Business Analyst enhances the
link between the user and the I.T. resulting in less miscommunication thus reducing the level of
Less project chaos lowers overtime, improves team morale, and the team’s chance of
delivering on time. Most of all, the BA will contribute to higher customer satisfaction, by
adding value. Gone are the days, when a project was considered successful when the satisfied
the triple constraints (on time, within budget, right scope) the project may get a failing score on
one or more of the triple constrain and still be successful. Success has to include the value
added and the expectations of the executive stakeholder being met.
An organization can add value to their projects, improve project success and thereby improve
the organization’s bottom line, by adding a business analyst to their project team.
1. The Standish Group 2007 CHAOS Report
International Institute for Learning, Inc.
Maureen G. McVey, CBAP
Director of Business Analysis, International Institute for Learning
Maureen McVey has 12+ years of experience as a business analyst and is a founding member of The
International Institute of Business Analysis. Ms. McVey has experience with many different industries; banking,
finance, insurance, government, and manufacturing and has been working within the I.T. industry for over 25
As the Director of Business Analysis at The International Institute for Learning, she combines her subject matter
expertise in Business Analysis competencies and skills to facilitator learning events using a combination
lecture/discussion, problem solving and application to relevant situations.
She began her career in the telecommunications industry as a business analyst with a software development house
building call centre software applications. From there she spent over 5 years with one of the ‘big 5” management
consulting organizations as an SAP consultant. While working with the one of the 5 major Banks in Canada, she
worked with the Capability Maturity Model Integrated (CMMI) team to create a BA centre of Competency and
internal certification program. As a Sr. Training Consultant for process optimization with a CMMI consultancy
firm she has worked with organizations to help them to bring their business analyst processes, skills and
knowledge to a higher level.
George Bridges, BA, MS, PMP George Bridges, PMP,
Senior Consultant, International Institute for Learning
George Bridges is a trainer and Senior Consultant for the Business Analysis Certification Program and the
Project Management Certification Program for IIL. George has an extensive background in Systems Development
and Operations Research. He has participated in analyzing and developing business systems for Major
corporations such as Ford Motor Company and Unisys Corporations.
With 15 years in industry experience and 15 years of experience in the non-profit arena, George has applied
Business Analysis and operations research to a number of business problems and processes.
He has a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, a Master’s Degree in Industrial and System Engineering from the
University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. He is currently working on a Doctor of Management in Information
Technology from the Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan where he is an adjunct
professor in the College of Management.
George has practical experience in gathering and producing requirements, Requirement Analysis, Solution
Assessment and Validations for manufacturing, telecommunication, web based and financial systems. These
initiatives have resulted in moving from the current as-is process to valuable alternative solutions that has added
value to the organizations.
His recent projects that involved Business Modeling and Process Improvements include:
A Voice Over IP implementation for a mid-size non-profit organization, defining and implementing a scanning
system for data entry, simulation of a 24/7 Call Center, implementing a “Badge Scanning Process” and analyzing
several alternatives to integrate an enterprise Website to an In-house Fund Management System.
With IIL George has successfully taught over 100 people in the Business Analysis Fundamental, Business Process
Modeling, Facilitation Skills for Business Analysis and Writing and Managing Requirements Documents Classes?
Some of the client organizations include organizations such as Austin Energy, KPMG, Time Inc, City of Dallas,
Papa John’s Int’l, PepsiCo, San Antonio Federal Credit Union, Pfizer, AT&T, Aristocrat, PMEX and many others.